Overview

This tour package combines the best of Kruger National Park with the 8 day Flock to Marion Cruise.

Kruger National Park is one of Africa’s most famous and fabulous reserves. On this birding and wildlife safari we will explore the area’s superb road system in our quest to locate some of the most iconic birds and big game in Africa, including the legendary “Big 5” - Lion, African Elephant, Leopard, African Buffalo and Rhinoceros. Kruger provides an excellent opportunity to witness these spectacular beasts in their natural habitat, with some of them in large numbers and at very close quarters. In addition, the park’s rich bushveld habitat will provide us with amongst the most exciting and rewarding birding to be had anywhere in Africa. Of special note here are species requiring vast areas of wilderness, such as Common Ostrich, Kori Bustard, the incomparable Southern Ground Hornbill, Martial Eagle, Bateleur, up to five species of vulture and an incredible diversity of other raptors!

This 8 day voyage out of Cape Town will sail through the Indian Ocean towards The Prince Edward Islands group, comprising two small islands in the sub-antarctic Indian Ocean. The islands are a declared Special Nature Reserves under the South African Environmental Management and activities on the islands are restricted to research and conservation management.

The wildlife on Marion is particularly vulnerable to introduced species and has suffered terribly with introduced mice and cats. While cats are now believed to have been eradicated, mice are still a major problem. A portion of the fees paid for this trip will be donated to the Mouse Free Marion Project.

We expect to see a host of seabirds with highlights including Kerguelan, Blue and Grey Petrels; Grey-headed, Sooty, Light-mantled and Wandering Albatrosses; King, Gentoo, Macaroni and Southern Rockhopper Penguins; Fairy and Salvin’s Prions and Kerguelan Tern. Should we obtain permission to venture into the marine protected area around Marion, we should also find Crozet Shag and Black-faced Sheathbill. A number of marine mammals are also anticipated, with Southern Elephant and Subantarctic Fur Seals; Fin, Sperm, Humpback and Killer Whales, as well as Dusky Dolphin being amongst the most likely.

More than 40 bird tour leaders and guides will be onboard for the cruise, including many who are very good at their cetacean identification too. Peter Harrison MBE, author of Seabirds: An Identification Guide – considered the bible of seabird identification will also be onboard, during which time he will not only be guiding, but also release his new seabird identification guide.

The tour is dynamically priced, and will become more expensive over time.

Tour Facts Top Birds
Flock to Marion Cruise Good chances - Black-faced Sheathbill, Grey-headed, Hartlaub's and Kelp Gulls; Greater Crested, Sandwich and Kerguelen Terns; Brown Skua; King Penguin; Wilson's and Black-bellied Storm Petrels; Wandering, Sooty, Black-browed, Shy, Grey-headed and Indian Yellow-nosed Albatrosses; Southern Giant, Northern Giant, Great-winged, Soft-plumaged, Grey, White-chinned and Blue Petrels; Salvin's and Fairy Prions; Cory's, Sooty and Great Shearwaters; Common Diving Petrels; Cape Gannet; Cape Cormorant; Crozet Shag. Moderate chances - Sabine's Gull; Common and Antarctic Terns; Pomarine and Parasitic Jaegers; Gentoo, Southern Rockhopper, Macaroni and African Penguins; Light-mantled and Atlantic Yellow-nosed Albatrosses; European Storm Petrel; Cape, Kerguelen and White-headed Petrels; Antarctic Prion; Subantarctic Shearwater. Low chances - Lesser Crested and Arctic Terns; Long-tailed Jaeger; Grey-backed and White-bellied Storm Petrels; Southern Royal and Northern Royal Albatrosses; Leach's Storm Petrel; Southern Fulmar; Slender-billed Prion; Barau's, South Georgia Diving and Spectacled Petrels; Manx and Little Shearwaters; Crowned, Bank and White-breasted Cormorants. Very Low chances - White-faced Storm Petrel, Amsterdam and Tristan Albatrosses, Broad-billed Prion, Atlantic Petrel, Flesh-footed Shearwater. Land - Common Ostrich, Kori Bustard, Red-crested Korhaan, Southern Ground Hornbill, Bateleur, Martial, Crowned, African Hawk- and Tawny Eagles, Dark Chanting Goshawk, Lizard Buzzard, Lappet-faced, Cape, White-backed, Hooded & White-headed Vultures, chances for the elusive African Finfoot, White-crowned Lapwing, Swainson’s & Natal Spurfowls, Coqui Francolin, Bronze-winged Courser, Double-banded Sandgrouse, Verreaux’s Eagle-Owl, Southern White-faced Owl, Pearl-spotted & African Barred Owlets, Southern Red-billed & Southern Yellow-billed Hornbills, Brown-headed Parrot, Bennett’s Woodpecker, Grey-headed Bushshrike, Burchell’s & Cape Starlings, Magpie & Southern White-crowned Shrikes, Red-headed Weaver, White-throated Robin-Chat, Acacia Pied Barbet, Burchell’s Coucal, Chestnut-vented Warbler, Stierling’s Wren-Warbler, Violet-eared Waxbill, Burnt-necked Eremomela, African Pygmy & Giant Kingfishers, Black, Woolly-necked, Saddle-billed & Yellow-billed Storks, African Openbill.
Top Mammals
Cruise - Good chances - Subantarctic Fur and Southern Elephant Seals; Humpback Whale. Moderate chances - Antarctic Fur Seal; Sperm, Killer, Fin and Long-finned Pilot Whales; Dusky Dolphin. Low chances - Heaviside's, Short-beaked Common, Hourglass and Bottlenose Dolphins; Southern Right, Common Minke, Sei and Bryde's Whales. Very Low chances - Southern Right Whale Dolphin; Blue Whale. Land - The ‘Big 5’, Cheetah, African Wild Dog, Side-striped Jackal, Greater Kudu, Giraffe, Spotted Hyena, Nyala, Common and Central African Large-spotted Genets, Wild Cat, African Civet, Serval, Cape Porcupine, White-tailed Mongoose, Klipspringer, Thick-tailed Greater Galago, Honey Badger, Caracal.
Habitats Covered
Cruise - Pelagic Land - acacia savanna, bushveld, terminalia woodland, riverine forest, grasslands, rivers, wetlands
Expected Climate
Cruise - cold and windy, Land - subtropical with occasional rain, warm to very hot
Max Group Size
Land - 7 with 1 Rockjumper Leader / Flock - 2300+ with 40 leaders
Tour Pace & Walking
Cruise - easy Land - relaxed
Accommodation
comfortable ship, and comfortable guesthouses & lodges
Ease of Birding
mosty easy
Number of Species Expected
180+
Other Attractions
Remote and rarely visited island, Indian Ocean, vast, pristine wilderness
Photographic Opportunities
good to excellent
Tour Route Map Route Map Client Testimonials

Greg was a fantastic guide, and I hope that I can take another tour/bird with him again in the future. I greatly enjoyed birding and spending time with him, he was very personable and I'm glad that we were able to become friends. Greg knew where to search for the birds and was extremely knowledgeable about birds and other wildlife and natural history. I also greatly appreciated how Greg dealt with issues that arose with other guests, and how quickly he tried to step in and prevent problems from escalating further. Guiding can be a difficult job, and Greg did a terrific job.

I thought Doug McCulloch was a wonderful guide. He was extremely dedicated and persistent in getting the key targets. It was clear he was personally frustrated by some of the misses, even though that was well out of his control (much of it was due to weather). And he even did a little extra homework to help me get a couple of targets that I went after by myself after the tour ended. He didn't have to do that, and I just want to thank him again for that.

Doug McCulloch did an excellent job. I have never seen a guide work so hard to get everyone on the birds. He gets high marks for his knowledge of the birds and his people-management skills.

Our leader, Andre Bernon, was very good and very knowledgeable, he was also good with general South African knowledge, which was a good thing.

This was my first experience with Rockjumper - it far exceeded my expectations. In fact, it far exceeded my experiences with other tours. I don't know how anybody could have been better than Andre Bernon. He was always professional, organized, and I felt completely safe with his driving. His knowledge of birds, animal behavior, the country, the history, goes without saying - but really it was his personality that made the trip. I so enjoyed his sense of humor. I know it is an old-fashioned word, but he was a complete gentleman - showing respect and courtesy to everyone but always with a twinkle in his eye and ready to either hand out or be on the receiving end of a joke. We just plain had fun on this trip! When time and money allows, I would happily go on another trip with him.

Dates, Leaders and Pricing
2022 DEPARTURES
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